A collapse of this Florida-sized glacier could raise sea levels significantly around the world, possibly before the end of this century. NSF's U.S Antarctic Program and the UK Natural Environment Research Council's British Antarctic Survey have teamed up to send scientists to the remote region by land, sea, and air to study every aspect of the glacier over the next three years.
Credit: National Science Foundation
Hi, I'm Mo with The Discovery Files, from the NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Antarctica's massive Thwaites Glacier is melting because of climate change, and a collapse of this Florida-sized glacier could raise sea levels significantly around the world, possibly before the end of this century.
NSF's U.S Antarctic Program and the UK Natural Environment Research Council's British Antarctic Survey have teamed up to send scientists to the remote region by land, sea, and air to study every aspect of the glacier over the next three years.
Because climate change is causing ocean currents to shift, warm ocean water that usually circulates far from the Antarctic coast has been making its way underneath the glacier, melting it out from below.
If the underside of the glacier melts back far enough, computer models suggest it could trigger a dramatic collapse of the glacier.
Researchers say it's not a matter of if sea levels will rise but a matter of when and by how much. Sea levels could increase enough to seriously disrupt coastal populations making it difficult to plan and manage the worlds coastlines and ports.
The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration is the largest-ever joint U.S.-U.K. Antarctic Field Research Program. The data collected will help the team develop more precise, long-term predictions of how much sea level rise the planet is facing in the coming decades to centuries.
Discover how the U.S. government's National Science Foundation is advancing research at nsf.gov.
"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.
Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation.
Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.